The Blog for Abstraktion.org, a non-profit organization for the promotion, exhibition and research of abstraction across all disciplines and geographic boundaries. Based in the UK, we invite submissions from the wider abstract universe.
Willem De Kooning 'A Way of Life' by curator Judith Zilczer, Phaidon Press, published March 2014..
I have just bought this book, a sumptuous and gorgeous book on the whole of De Kooning's paintings, much from the Willem De Kooning Foundation,
it gives a better understanding of his innovative approach to painting
than I had thought, certainly havent seen many of these works before.
Kenneth Noland (April 10, 1924 – January 5, 2010) Noland’s shaped canvases were last exhibited in New York more than 20 years ago, and have never before been on display in Los Angeles. Forty years after these works were created, Castelli Gallery and Honor Fraser present a comprehensive and fresh perspective on this distinctive period of Noland’s career.
Sandra Porter’s work explores a fascination with the power of repetition. Through playing with grids, stripes and recurrent schemes she creates series of images that are similar but never the same. Pieces differ; reflect each other yet also work independently. Recent prints and paintings are ever evolving improvisations around the stipe and grid format. These works seek a synthesis between the horizontal and vertical stripe together with the all-important negotiation of monochrome, colour and definitive mark.
Whilst colour, structure and pattern are the means by which I interpret the ancient and modern worlds, I remain deeply influenced by the art of the early Italian Renaissance as well as the traditions of Modernism, Constructivism, Minimalism and Abstract expressionism. When all figurative references are absent in the work the imagination can create a genuinely original narrative, which can be said to be truly abstract. Only then can a visual language really speak.
In the same way that my printmaking influences my painting and my painting affects my printmaking, the relationship between what I see in the outside world works symbiotically with the processes of my practice as an artist My preoccupations in the studio can suddenly resonate with something I see outside of it. A new experience of a piece of architecture or art can kick start a whole new series of work and when all figurative references are absent in the work the imagination begins to create a narrative which can be said to be truly abstract.
Skye Bothan II
Gaining a Masters in Painting from Chelsea School of Art in 1981, Sandra Porter later studied Printmaking with Master Printmaker Dorothea Wight in the 1990s. She has exhibited widely in a thirty year career latterly in New York and France as well as the UK and her work can be found in Private & Public Collections including Arthur Anderson, Deutsche Bank, the Government Art Collection, Hammersmith Council and in the Tate and V&A Libraries.
Valentine came to Los Angeles in the mid-1960s, moving there from his native Colorado, where he was already an established sculptor, to teach a class in plastics technology at UCLA. He had begun working with plastics as early as the 1950s, but it was not until his arrival in the artistically fertile environment of Los Angeles that he started to utilize the material in a more expansive way.
Large Ring Light Violet, 1968
Particularly influenced by the California landscape, Valentine has noted, “All the work is about the sea and the sky. I would like to have some way…to cut out large chunks of ocean or sky and say, ‘Here it is.’”1 Despite his grand ambitions, Valentine was initially confronted with material limitations, as polyester resins at the time could not be poured in volumes that exceeded 50 pounds. Not willing to accept this restriction, he partnered with Hastings Plastics in 1966 to create a new polyester resin that could be cast in larger quantities. The resultant material, which is commercially known as Valentine MasKast Resin, not only allowed the artist to dramatically increase the scale of his work, but also continues today to have applications beyond the realm of art. Polyester resin, with its inherent ability to both contain and reflect light while delivering a luminous dimensionality, would from that point on form the foundation of Valentine’s practice.
On view will be a number of Valentine’s “Columns,” corporeally scaled sculptures cast in colored polyester resins that recede from a wider base up to a narrow tip. These works have a prismatic effect, both transmitting and refracting light, and thus capturing an optical sense of depth, space, and color. Executed in varying heights and widths, works such as Column Yellow and Column Lavender (both 1968) engage the viewer on a phenomenological level.
A highlight of the exhibition will be Valentine’s twin Gray Columns (1975-76), which each stand twelve feet tall and have never before been exhibited together in their intended configuration. Originally executed for Baxter Travenol Laboratories’ newly built corporate headquarters in Deerfield, Illinois, Valentine had conceived of two immense vertical columns standing side by side, but because of architectural modifications (the ceiling in the company’s reception area was lowered at a late stage of construction), Valentine was forced to install the two slabs on their sides.
Ring Blue, 1968
The exhibition will additionally include a number of Valentine’s “Circles,” a shape he began to experiment with in 1969. These works display not only the artist’s mastery of geometrical form, but also highlight his command of color in sculptures like Circle Blue Smoke Flow Blue (1970), with its dappled blue-gray surface, and Circle Gold-Rose (1970), with its optically shifting hues. A room of these large-scale circles was installed in Valentine’s 1970 solo presentation at the Pasadena Art Museum, known at that time as an important platform for young artistic talent. A selection of Valentine’s smaller forms, such as rings, discs, and double pyramids, which make clear the theoretical basis of his practice, will also be on view.
A major exhibition of works by John Hoyland (1934–2011) – one of Britain’s leading abstract painters – will inaugurate Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery in October 2015. ‘Power Stations’ (8th October 2015 – 3rd April 2016) consists of paintings by John Hoyland dating from 1964 to 1982, from Hirst’s collection.
Damien Hirst interviewed by Tim Marlow. Hirst discusses Newport Street Gallery and its inaugural exhibition of John Hoyland. from Newport Street Gallery on Vimeo. Occupying all six of Newport Street’s individual galleries, entry to the exhibition will be free.‘Power Stations’ will be the first major exhibition to be devoted to the artist since 2006. The show spans a pivotal period in Hoyland’s career, which included his first solo exhibition in a museum (Whitechapel Gallery, 1967) and, twelve years later, his defining retrospective at the Serpentine Gallery (1979–80). Having been described by the writer Mel Gooding as, “without question... one of the two or three best abstract painters of his generation anywhere in the world”, and by Hirst as, “by far the greatest British abstract painter”, ‘Power Stations’ both reaffirms Hoyland’s status as a major innovative force within the field of international abstraction, and provides new insights into his diverse and ever-evolving work. Renowned for his bold use of colour and scale, Hoyland was strongly influenced by the American Abstract Expressionists of the late 1950s and early 60s. He met many of the most acclaimed of these artists, including Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, Robert Motherwell and Helen Frankenthaler, some of whom he became close friends with. Stating, “paintings are there to be experienced, they are events”, Hoyland’s extraordinary and intuitive manipulation of colour, form and texture received early critical acclaim. Although he disliked the term abstraction, he was a life-long proponent of non-figurative imagery, in which he saw, “the potential for the most advanced depth of feeling and meaning”. Art critic Andrew Lambirth described Hoyland’s paintings as, “abstracts but they are not about absolutes. They are about […] very particular emotions, thoughts and feelings dependent upon the act of looking.” During his lifetime, Hoyland won many awards including the prestigious John Moores Painting Prize in 1982 and the Wollaston Award in 1998. As well as his exhibitions at Whitechapel Gallery and the Serpentine, his work has been the subject of major retrospectives at the Royal Academy of Arts (1999) and Tate St Ives (2006). In 2010, it also formed the centrepiece of ‘The Independent Eye’ exhibition at the Yale Center for British Art (2010–2011). A long-standing, active and outspoken Royal Academician, Hoyland was appointed Professor of Painting at the Royal Academy Schools in 1999 and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Sheffield Hallam University in 2000. Throughout a long and successful career, he remained a committed teacher and lecturer and, like Hirst, a supporter of young and emerging artists. This will be the first major solo exhibition of Hoyland’s work to have been shown in London in the last 16 years. On the significance of the artist, Hirst has stated: “In my eyes, John Hoyland was an artist who was never afraid to push the boundaries. His paintings always feel like a massive celebration of life to me.”